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NCAA announces infractions involving 3 sports programs at Ohio State

The violations occurred between 2015 and 2019 involving the fencing, women’s golf and women’s basketball programs.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The NCAA Committee on Infractions released its finding on a case involving three sports programs at the Ohio State University on Tuesday.

The violations occurred between 2015 and 2019 involving the fencing, women’s golf and women’s basketball programs and resulted in the Department of Athletics being placed on four years probation and fined $5,000. The probation will end on April 18, 2026.

Additional penalties include vacating team wins and championships and individual records and 10-year show-cause penalties for the former head fencing coach and former associate head women’s basketball coach.

In a news release, the Department of Athletics said the university initially self-reported the violations with the fencing program in August 2018.

During the investigation with the NCAA, additional violations occurred with the women’s basketball and women’s golf programs that Ohio State reported. 

“As soon as Ohio State learned of the potential rules violations, and in the four years since, it has embodied and executed its institution-wide commitment to integrity through its relentless efforts to discover the truth, provide transparency with the NCAA Enforcement staff, and self-impose meaningful corrective actions, penalties, and accountability where appropriate,” the Department of Athletics said.

Ohio State added the university was acknowledged by the committee for its compliance monitoring systems and for “exemplary cooperation” during the investigation.

“I’m proud of our university, athletics department, and the involved sport programs for our management of this matter,” Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletic Director Gene Smith said. “We are committed to our proactive and pre-existing system of compliance methods and rules education.  A comprehensive compliance program ensures adherence and institutional control over the athletics department and furthers the mission of the university. We are pleased that this matter is now behind us, and our focus remains on our student-athletes.”

The violations included the following: 

  • Ineligible participation as a result of multiple recruiting and extra benefit violations in women’s basketball and fencing
  • The fencing program exceeding its maximum allowable countable coaches
  • A countable athletically related activities (CARA) violation for women’s golf and women’s basketball
  • Head coach responsibility violation and ethical conduct violation for the former head fencing coach
  • A head coach responsibility violation for the former director of golf

According to Ohio State, the university had self-imposed postseason competition bans for each of the involved sports for the 2020-21 year.

Wins and championships for the fencing and women’s basketball programs that will be vacated, and additional penalties, include:

  • Women’s basketball Big Ten championships in 2017 and 2018
  • The 2018 Big Ten tournament championship in women’s basketball
  • Women’s NCAA tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2017, and a 2019 Women’s NIT appearance
  • 52 women’s basketball wins (10 in 2016-17; 28 in 2017-18; 14 in 2018-19)  
  • Midwest Fencing Conference championships in 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • NCAA fencing championship runner-up finishes in 2016 and 2017 and an NCAA third-place finish in 2018 
  • A 3-percent budget reduction in 2022-23 for the fencing program and 1-percent reductions for women’s golf and women’s basketball 
  • Scholarship and recruiting restrictions for the fencing program

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